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AI Deployed for COVID-19 Assistance in Indonesia

A digital health assistant, specifically designed to answer patients’ queries, help in teleconsultations, pharmacy deliveries and on-demand lab diagnostics, are all part of an AI platform that has been developed by an Indonesian healthcare start-up. The solution was inspired by the tremendous need for innovative health solutions created during the pandemic as more patients became dependent on online consultations.

The chief executive and co-founder were driven by the dichotomy in the healthcare sector in the nation. While there is constant innovation in treatment, medication and equipment, access to fundamental healthcare services continue to lag. The platform was designed to provide access to the most basic of healthcare using technology. The tech allows for symptomatic treatment of patients outside of tertiary care centres, as well as provide online care for chronic non-communicable diseases.

The tech-enabled solution not only improves access but is being used to lower expenditure. Through its AI telemedicine platform, the platform can assist insurance companies and hospitals in making medical treatment more accessible and affordable by lowering the number of outpatient claims and downstream inpatient costs that healthcare payers endure. Additionally, the standardisation of treatment by qualified healthcare providers, the combination of a growing and robust medical database, as well as verified clinical guidelines, contributes to cost savings and service optimisation.

Throughout this pandemic, the healthcare sector has been in urgent need of healthcare management systems to manage hospitals, clinics and other medical facilities; the demand for healthcare tech has been soaring. Artificial intelligence is progressively being seen as an excellent technology to leverage for healthcare, even as it becomes more prevalent in modern business and everyday life.

Artificial intelligence in healthcare has the potential to assist healthcare providers in a range of patient care areas and administrative processes. Nonetheless, utilising artificial intelligence in healthcare for diagnostic and treatment plans – rule-based or algorithmic – can be difficult to integrate with clinical processes and EHR systems. When compared to the accuracy of recommendations, integration issues have been a higher barrier to mainstream use of AI in healthcare.

The most difficult hurdle for AI in healthcare is assuring its acceptance in daily clinical practice, not whether the technologies will be competent enough to be useful. In time, Clinicians may eventually gravitate toward tasks that demand specialised human skills and tasks that require the highest level of cognitive function. Perhaps the only healthcare providers who will lose out on the full potential of AI in healthcare may be those who refuse to collaborate alongside it.

Indonesia has been keen to adopt technology across the board including healthcare. The government introduced a national strategy for developing artificial intelligence in August last year. The nation’s National AI Strategy, Stranas KA (Strategi Nasional Kecerdasan Artifisial), was announced by the Minister of Research and Technology and head of the BRIN (the National Research and Innovation Agency) in a television address to mark the country’s 25th National Technology Awakening Day. The blueprint will guide Indonesia in developing artificial intelligence (AI) between 2020 and 2045 and comes at a time when governments and businesses around the world are increasingly turning to the field for tech-driven solutions for citizen and client services.

Tech companies have been actively contributing to the country’s fight against the pandemic. Indonesia’s COVID-19 task group has employed health-tech apps to help distribute information and provide consultation in less severe cases. In March, Indonesia launched drive-through vaccination centres, which proved to be a success. OpenGov Asia reported that the Health Ministry acknowledged that the collaboration with tech businesses was based on necessity. One of the earliest groups to get vaccinated in the second phase is public transit workers, which is why they had partnered with a transportation-related tech company.

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